NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - A New Orleans woman survived severe domestic abuse, including being thrown from a moving vehicle on the Interstate. Now, Trelva Wells is speaking out for the first time publicly and hoping to raise awareness, as well as money, for those struggling with abuse.
“It took me three years to get where I’m at,” Wells said. “This is my testimony. I passed so, it’s time for me to share what happened.”
It was February 1, 2016. Wells was a single mother, raising her young son after a failed relationship with his father, Dave Turner. Wells said she left Turner after the first instance of physical abuse but the two still spoke to co-parent their child.
"It was a normal day for me. I was just getting dressed and going out the door and I got clocked," Wells recalled.
She said she was suddenly knocked off her feet, out cold. When she came to, she said she saw Turner standing over her.
“And all he said was, ‘I’m going to make your life a living hell,’” Wells said.
Wells said she tried to get up and the two fought. At one point, she said she was able to make it out of the house, but Turner cut her off in the side yard.
“He takes his hand and shoved them down my throat, like this, to try to keep me from screaming,” Wells demonstrated.
Wells kept fighting, she said, Turner managed to drag her back into the house.
“He got me to my room and that’s when he raped me,” Wells said. “He choked me twice. The first time he choked me in my room, I went out. When I came back to, he was on top of me with no clothes on.”
Wells said she eventually became too tired to struggle and began to cooperate with her attacker.
"I did what I had to do to stay alive for my child," Wells said.
But then, her nightmare continued in her car, when she said Turner shoved her in and took off towards the interstate.
“I got put in that car, I didn’t know where I was going,” said Wells. “I had no idea he was going to do what he did next. He reached over, and he opened the door and I could feel his hand on my shoulder, and it just went like that.”
Wells said she doesn’t remember much after that. She was partially paralyzed and spent two months in the hospital learning how to take care of herself again. Wells underwent multiple surgeries, and her leg is now made up of steel and screws.
Her scars still show and Wells said she still undergoes physical therapy. And, she said she’ll never stop healing.
“So it hasn’t stopped. I’m still fighting. Three years later and I’m still dealing with this,” Wells said. “This situation has turned my life upside down.”
Her son is now 13 years old, and Wells said his father is serving a 15-year-sentence, found guilty in Orleans Parish and convicted of kidnapping and attempted manslaughter for what he did to Wells. He still faces charges for rape and battery in St. Charles parish, where he brought Wells when he kidnapped her.
Wells said she wants to share more of her story with the public to raise awareness about domestic violence and to raise money for the St. Charles victim’s unit, who helped her during her initial recover by paying her an estimated $500,000 worth of hospital bills -- which she said she wants to get back.
The event is scheduled for Oct. 6 at the Crown Plaza in Kenner, starting at 7 p.m.